Dave Major: Daniel Farke's actions are aimed at creating a so-solid crew at Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 07:09 10 March 2018
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I’m at the risk of repeating myself: cut, paste. Problems with goal scoring. No Plan B. A need to resolve these key issues to maintain positivity... not much of that around after two 0-0 shut outs and a snowed off trip to Barnsley.
But you don’t want to read that again.
I think my views here are clear. I like what Norwich have tried this year, but accept it’s a results business, driven by goals. It will be the lack of goals, if not solved soon, that will put paid to this fresh approach, or the goodwill of fans at least.
But in a slow Norwich City news week, step forward Nelson Oliveira to add some Portuguese tantrums to proceedings.
For all the talk of camaraderie, it’s clear Daniel Farke isn’t one to mess with. It’s his way. Full stop. You don’t buy into the approach, the methods, then there’s a revolving exit door you can go through and a public shaming in the meantime. The temperament seen in that inaugural opening game at Fulham and now a lack of training effort have put Nelson firmly in the naughty chair.
Never mind it may impact the team for a game or two. The group and the approach is more important; any offending player jettisoned publicly. So far the Nelson Oliveira treatment has also been received by Marley Watkins, Josh Murphy and Marcus Edwards.
The approach is nothing new. Tim Sherwood and John Polston were transfer-listed and suspended in 1991 after not turning up to a pre-season friendly around contract disputes under Dave Stringer. Sherwood never played for Norwich again.
Similarly, we had the Lewis Grabban affair at Rotherham under Alex Neil – less publicly dealt with, but he stepped out of line and his days were numbered. A few years previously Paul Lambert’s jettisoning of Wes Hoolahan and Gary Doherty the same.
It’s managerial playbook 101.
What’s unusual is the public way of dealing with it. It’s all too often explained away as a niggling injury. But Farke is transparent when someone steps out of line. He calls them out. It’s open. Honest. I like that.
It goes against what some of the great managers do. Sir Alex Ferguson, for example, never criticised his players in public. He deflected the attention, often to a poor official. The result: siege mentality and a team behind their manager.
What Daniel Farke is doing is reliant upon the collective to be behind him; to recognise the one not pulling their weight and to support their reintroduction – the way Timm Klose did with Josh Murphy earlier in the season. It’s a riskier, but far more transparent, approach. It goes wrong if the collective doesn’t follow.
The challenge for Nelson is that this is the second time. Do it once, come back into line and work your socks off; perhaps become a club legend like Wes Hoolahan did. But twice? No. That I fear is that for Nelson long term. We’ll see him again this season but it will be for shop window dressing. Not next year. Not under this head coach. Twice bitten.
There’s undoubtedly talent there, but maybe not a temperament or the consistency. Roll into that a high wage earner and the future is clear. Norwich City will be searching for striking options again this summer.
And while I’m writing about strikers, let’s not judge Dennis Srbeny too harshly from Tuesday. He’s raw, settling in. January signings often don’t come good straight way. I recall Gary Holt looking lost for a few months, before becoming player of the following season. Giving the likes of Srbeny, Onel Hernandez and others on the periphery game time to settle in and decide the roles they can play next season is an essential part of the remaining games.
Just don’t assume Oliveira will be with them in Nelson’s County next season.